Issue #28 Fall/Winter 2014-15
Entartete Kunst et al
This issue’s front cover features a handful of established-order “dogs” and is the fifth in a series, Entartete Kunst. From the established-order point of view, clearly the cover would be dismissed as “depraved art.” Would PEN America: Journal for Writers & Readers, Agni, Ploughshares, Poetry magazine, Poets & Writers, Rattle, American Poet Magazine, etc. have published the cover somewhere in their pages? Of course not! Why not? Fear of inconvenient truths! Criticism against The American Dissident is published in each issue. What’s the big deal? In fact, I encourage it! But not the editors of those magazines!
Featured are Academy of American Poets former chancellor Frank Bidart (center) receiving PEN’s literary award for established-order poetry, Chair of PEN’s Literary Awards (Poetry Society of America’s queen bee) Alice Quinn (left), PEN Executive Director Suzanne Nossel, Poesy Judge Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Poesy Judge Peg Boyers, Poesy Judge Toi Derrricotte, and Poesy Idolater Hollywood starlet James Franco. I’d written a long email to Nossel, who actually responded (see Literary Letters).
On the front cover, I was tempted to feature the local Barnstable County Human Rights Commission Brick Wall of Apathy (HRCBWA), with whom I’d met last May in a vain effort to get it to help me recover my lost civil rights in Barnstable, where I am prohibited from attending any cultural or political events held at my publicly-funded neighborhood library, Sturgis Library, which permanently banned me without due process for a speech crime in June 2012. Imagine that HRCBWA Chief Commissar John Reed got angry at me for taking photos during that meeting and even argued that satire was not permissible in Barnstable County. Was this guy nuts? Well, if he wasn’t Uncle Ben, as he actually had stated, maybe he was Idi Amin reincarnated. The other commissioners behaved like brain-dead dummies. I’d also brought the civil rights matter to the Barnstable County Commissioners (the local political hacks, not the local human rights hacks), who proved equally apathetic (see my brief, evidently unprepared, speech before the hacks here:
Finally, not one of the official sponsors of Banned Books Week responded to my open letter to them (American Library Association, PEN, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, American Book Sellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of College Stores, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Project Censored, and Center for the Book at the Library of Congress).
Moreover, in September, Sturgis Library, which banned The American Dissident, all books authored by me, and all poems and essays published in the journal by other writers, celebrated—Banned Books Week with a lecture by a partisan of book banning, library director Anne Speyer. We have hypocrites in politics. No surprise there. We have hypocrites in higher education. No surprise there either. But we also have hypocrites in the ranks of those professing to be advocates of freedom. Now, that ought to be surprising... or perhaps not.